Power and Our Conclusion
When it comes to power consumption numbers, we’re used to making concessions for massive energy hogs like multi-card setups and flagship CPUs. The 780G is a different kind of beast, though. In our preview we saw the 780G-based Gigabyte board idling around 80W and sucking down 130W under full load. Its idle was just under that of Intel’s G35 platform, and both configurations turned in similar results under full load.
AMD and Intel continue turning in energy-efficient consumption numbers. The ASUS board cuts its draw by a couple of watts at idle and a single watt under load. We’re also able to compare those numbers to what you’d see with a Radeon HD 3450 sitting in the board’s one available PCI Express x16 slot. The rise in energy flow is offset by significant performance gains in most of the 3D titles we tested.
We’ve already reached the conclusion that AMD’s 780G chipset is a huge step forward. It’s significant for the mainstream market because the core logic delivers DirectX 10 functionality and enough muscle to actually drive some of today's current gaming titles. To AMD, the chipset represents a foundation for its new platform message—something it hasn’t had before. Expect AMD to run with the idea that its processor, chipset, and graphics solutions are all better together.
The real question is: which 780G motherboard do you buy? AMD has a long list of partners planning to unveil their own unique designs. But right now there are still only a handful of choices. You have the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, the ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI we’re evaluating today, and an even less expensive offering from ECS that might prove a formidable contender at $69.
With a street price of $99, Gigabyte’s board is the most expensive. ASUS follows at $89. Based on price alone, it’s tempting to crown ASUS the winner here since it delivers comparable performance at a statistically significant lower price. However, ASUS may want to make a couple changes to the board before it’s able to claim the value title. Currently, you give up too much for that $10 savings in out opinion. From BIOS flexibility to optical output and even eSATA support, which we see as an increasingly important feature. If you don't need those features, go ahead and save yourself the 10 bucks, otherwise Gigabyte’s GA-MA78GM-S2H remains our top choice.